Why do you blog? There are many answers to that question, ranging from “I just need a place to write down my thoughts” to “I want to change the world (and get rich doing it).” Your answer to that question should play a large part in how you blog. Or at least how you design your blog.
On that note is Jakob Nielsen‘s latest installment of his Alert Box column, Weblog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes.
Weblogs are a form of website. The thousands of normal website usability guidelines therefore apply to them, as do this year’s top ten design mistakes. But weblogs are also a special genre of website; they have unique characteristics and thus distinct usability problems.
To reach new readers and respect your existing readers’ time constraints, test your weblog against the following usability problems.
- No author biographies
- No author photo
- Nondescript posting titles
- Links don’t say where they go
- Classic hits are buried
- The calendar is the only navigation
- Irregular publishing frequency
- Mixing topics
- Forgetting that you are writing for your future boss
- Having a domain name owned by a weblog service
Obviously, not all of these apply to everyone; it all depends on what you want to accomplish with your blog. Still, I think I have some work to do.